In April 2011, I was browsing through a few favorite shops on Etsy and I stumbled across an ACEO (which stands for “Art Cards Editions and Originals”) by one of my favorite artists, Stephanie Phi-Mun Law. It was entitled simply, Solitude, and featured a woman reclining against a tree on a grassy hillock, reading a book.
This image resonated with me intellectually and emotionally, and I immediately added it to my cart and purchased it before it could be sold to someone else. Framed, it now resides on a small side table in my living room, next to a comfortable reading chair.
Whenever I glance at this tiny piece of art, I’m reminded of how peaceful, exciting and fulfilling it is to sit down with a good book and let its language drown out everything else. There is nothing I love better than to be immersed in a well-told story, whether it be written on a page or brought to me in two-dimensional color on a screen. I am forever in search of the next tale that will transport me to another world, a different place, a time apart from now.
Not only do I keep track of my Paper Vacations here at OneWandering, but I can also be found over at Goodreads, which is where I archive all of my book reviews. Each year, Goodreads holds a Reading Challenge where you set a goal to read a certain number of books within the calendar year.
In 2011, I set a goal for 80 books and completed it! However, somewhere between the web application and the iPhone app, lost in the dregs of the interwebs, one of the entries for a book read in 2011 got amended right before December 31 — it no longer showed that I had completed reading it. I managed to find the errant entry and fix it, but I never received my Reading Challenge badge. (Boo!)
Finishing 80 books definitely stretched me last year… towards the end I was purposefully choosing books that were less than 400 pages and I was reading at work during my lunch breaks. I knew that in 2012 I wanted to tackle the Game of Thrones series, which would entail subjecting myself to five volumes (each with a significant number of pages), so I set my goal a bit lower: 50 books. Like the reclining woman in Solitude, I wanted to give myself enough time to enjoy every page, rather than to race the calendar with a frantic shuffle of real and electronic pages.
This morning over breakfast I read the first few chapters of book number 61: Swan Song by Robert R. McCammon. It’s another “big” book, weighing in at well over 850 pages both in print and on the Kindle. Will I finish it in the next six days so it counts toward my 2012 challenge? I probably won’t even attempt it. 60 is a perfectly respectable number, and I’ve managed to beat my goal by 10 books as well as earn my 2012 Reading Challenge badge.
Now, what goal to set for 2013?!